Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

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Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

GrooveChampion
So this guy asked me for a Zendrive, built it, sounds fantastic. Turns out the guy doesnt know the first thing about pedals, not to mention power supplies.

He got home and asked me what supply to use, I told him a standard 9V DC supply.

Long story short I received the pedal back with the 25V(!!!!) 100uF cap swollen and the LM833 chip burnt.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Ravenswerld
Darn...no fun! I don't sell them. These kind are stories make me not want to!
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Travis
Administrator
In reply to this post by GrooveChampion
One of the bassists from a band I was in wanted me to build him a pedal and wanted me to build it in a huge folded metal enclosure that we found at Fry’s (an electronics store). I put kindof a Meathead Dark esque thing in there and it sounded awesome

The guy took the term “stompbox” really literally and when we played our first gig with that pedal he stomped on the switch so hard that the whole enclosure collapsed and shorted out the circuit. In hindsight a couple wood blocks in the enclosure would have supported it but it would have been fine if he didn’t put all of his weight into it and it wasn’t an enclosure that I would have picked myself
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

GrooveChampion
For some reason the video for Blur's Song 2 comes to mind where the guitar player literally jumps on a Rat pedal
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

BetterOffShred
In reply to this post by GrooveChampion
I built a wolf-bagger, it didn't work and it's kind of a difficult pedal to "calibrate".. but it sounds really good in my opinion. So I messed with it and finally got it working.   Anyway I really liked it, and my buddy had a son, so I gave it to him as a baby shower present..  and he doesn't ever use it I guess.  I think he said it's in storage.  

Thats really my only story for this thread.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Neil mcNasty
In reply to this post by GrooveChampion
One of many incidents that made me stop building for any other than a professional/session musician who knows what he/she is looking for... (you know the ones that actually makes money from music...)

A guitar player comes to me asking for an Overdrive, because he can not find anything he likes in the store.
He likes the Red Llama, but it is too hot and does not have a tone control.
He likes the Blues Driver, but he does not like the tone control (removes too much bass)
He likes the Zendrive, except for "something"..., and so on...

So then I build 3 different modified/tweaked pedals for him to test out, based on his specifications/wishes.
After "testing" the pedals for about 3 months without giving me any feedback or response, I then tell him to give me a response, make his choice and return the pedals that he does not want/need.
He then returns all 3 pedals and tells me that he bought a Blues Driver instead, and that he does not need any of the pedals I built, because after changing his amp's settings, everything sounds sweet...

No respect for the fact that I've been building, tweaking and customising the pedals specially to suit his taste, not getting a dime for the effort, obviously expecting it to be free, since he did not "need" any of them... What a dick!!!
I was a bit more insecure and eager to please at the time, feeling a bit fresh, so I did not push him to pay up.
But, if this had happened today, I would be charging him for all the 3 pedals.
But this will not happen again!
Because most guitar players (and hippies) does not have any money.
So now I'm only building pedals for myself and professional musicians that earn a good living from it...
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

GrooveChampion
God I hate "tone chasers"
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Sensei Tim
A few things:

First I built a rangemaster for someone with an integrated voltage inverter.  He plugged it into a 12vac power adapter.

Next, some guy wanted a 2-to-1 mixer pedal. He’d only buy it is I could have it built by the end of October (over a
Month ago). He hasn’t replied to emails for at least 3 weeks now.

Last I had someone who wanted to commission a custom of pedal with custom graphics. I did a layout and everything with the graphics and then he disappeared.  6 months later I got an email from another builder in another part of the country saying that some guy asked him to make the same pedal but with my graphics.

Then there are all of the trolls who tell you your prices are too high and they can get the same pedal (with vintage spec parts!) off eBay for under $75 etc etc
 

Madness
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

GrooveChampion
That last one, oh god that last one "I can get the same pedal from Reverb for less"

I have a feeling he didnt buy it
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Marbles
I have had the same (sort of) this week.

The guy was really nice and all, but like most: they read a fuzz face is 5 parts and think all builders are scammers.
He wanted to have a Josh Homme sound and learned he was using a PDF-2. But he thought 160 euros was way too much.
I hadn't heard of it, and found out that it was a modded maestro MDF (as far as I know). Seeing that layout here, I personally think 160 is a steal. I told him that too. And that if I would build it, it would not be that far off.
So he wanted something else. He asked for some options , checked various options (a lot of them also complex big builds) and finally we settled on the SFT.

I ordered some parts I did not have (dumb), and then he asked if I could make an invoice. So I did, part for part. Charged the minimum for my hours (since he is a friend of a good friend) and sent it to him.

He then asked if I could give him a list of the parts. His idea was that he would buy the parts through his company, so that it would be cheaper. My hours would be payed separately.

I reluctantly agreed. He would come back to me in 2 days.

Received a message after 2 days thanking me for my trouble, but that he decided that he could buy the PDF through his company as well, making it not that much more expensive than having me build something, and going for the PDF.

The guy was very nice and all, and obviously just not that informed about pedals, but man, I must admit I was feeling relieved not to go through with it.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

rocket88
Administrator
well i have more than my fair share of horror stories, but here's two of my favorites. first, i had a guy contact me about building a phasor for him that i sell, which is a modified phase90. i charge $190 for it and he sends me an email telling me he'd give me $100 for me to build one for him. i send him a nice email back explaining that i build specifically for my customers, handmade on stripeboard, hand etched, etc.  and that to get something similar from a company like DAM it would cost over $600. he responds telling me it's just  simple phasor and he could just go and buy one for $100 and i should take his offer. my response was a much less polite telling him that my time is worth significantly more than that, that he should just go buy a $100 phasor, and that honestly i wouldn't build him a pedal even if he was willing to pay what i ask.

the second was a guy who wanted me to build him a Ge fuzzface using all NOS parts because they sound better then when built with new components. i gave him a price, which he said was too him, and explained that the transistors are the important part to tone not the caps and resistors, and there is no difference in tone if it's built and tune properly. after arguing with me and demanding me to charge him less, i told him that i have 2 fuzzfaces that are my personal ones, one all NOS components and one that has new components and NOS transistors, that he can try and tell me which one he prefers and identify which one is which. he comes to my place plugs in and tries them, and he of course miss identifies them, telling me how much better the one with new components sounds without knowing.  when i open the backs he states tell me that i tricked him, yada, yada. the kicker is he tells me he's just going to buy the stock mini fuzzface, then contacts me telling me it sounds like a blanket on his amp and not like the one i built, and how it be changed to sound like one of my builds. i told him he should buy one i make and he'll have the tone he wants. needless to say he wasn't too happy with my comment.

i really don't understand some people. they want things for nothing, and fell that time is valuable not to mention the value of someones knowledge and expertise. i've  built and designed pedals for a fair share of professional musicians and legendary musicians and they all get it and get super stoked for builds. there's literally been builds where pedals have been sent back and forth across the country testing and tuning, with 0 issues or concerns. pedals have been built and sent to other countries no issues. it's the kinda guys that hangout at GC and want to sound like X famous guitarist that are always the ones that cause issues.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Sensei Tim
People are used to Joyo/mooer/brand of the day from China that cost $30.  They think that if a Chinese clone can be made for $30 then they shouldn’t need to pay a reasonable price.

I wonder if they talk to their mechanic or plumber the same way lol
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

rocket88
Administrator
Exactly man. Hey, it's like when people have the cheapest bid for construction done in their house and they wonder why their outlets aren't installed properly and the Sheetrock is pulling off the studs. Lol
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Frank_NH
I've had the good fortune of only building for myself!  

If I did sell anything, it would be something already constructed and strictly "what you see is what you get" - no returns for any reason (unless it was a defect in workmanship).

"Then there are all of the trolls who tell you your prices are too high and they can get the same pedal (with vintage spec parts!) off eBay for under $75 etc etc"

I would encourage the trolls to go ahead and build the pedals themselves, as it's really not that hard for simple circuits (especially a PCB build).  Fun, education, and TOAN!!  What's not to like?

Of course you need a good soldering iron + solder + a DVM for testing + electrical components + enclosures + labels + knobs + jacks + switches + hookup wire.  Oh, and a drill and appropriate bits.  Plus a good amount to time to do the construction and testing.  How much does that come too??  Hmmm...let me see...  probably under $30, like the Joyo pedals.  Right??

I must admit, though,  that if you're just building a tube screamer with no mods and average parts, I can get an reasonable quality EHX East River Drive for $40 used on eBay or Reverb.  In fact, I got one for repair for $20, needed a new footswitch, so not exactly a bargain.  But the funny thing is that the circuit is dead-on clone of a standard TS-9 tube screamer, yet reading the GearPage, the toan lovers there seemed to think it sounded "more open" than the Ibanez TS-9...[sigh]  So if you build, you should do it first and foremost because you enjoy it, and if you want to turn it into a business - great, but don't expect to get rich.

And on that note, I raise my glass and say cheers and happy holidays to us Boutique Pedal Builders!!

 
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Sensei Tim
I’ll be the first one to admit this:

I build for 3 reasons:

1. I enjoy it
2. It gives me a chance to build/heat something that I normally would not have built because it’s not really my taste.
3. Any money I make goes back into feeding the never ending gear addiction ;)  makes things easier when I want to buy a new axe and it’s been all funded by several months of pedal building ;)

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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Muadzin
In reply to this post by Sensei Tim
Sensei Tim wrote
People are used to Joyo/mooer/brand of the day from China that cost $30.  They think that if a Chinese clone can be made for $30 then they shouldn’t need to pay a reasonable price.
So......, Yoyo and Mooer are to pedals what Napster and bittorrent have been to record sales?

It's logical though. When you had to fork out €80 to a €100 for a Boss or Ibanez pedal, paying 2x or 3x as much for a boutique pedal or custom build seems reasonable. When that price difference increase, it becomes less and less reasonable.

I wonder if they talk to their mechanic or plumber the same way lol
Depends on where you live. In Europe a glut of cheap East-European plumbers and other tradesmen has made life hard for their West-European counterparts. Or how about how webshops have hit physical stores? There's never been so many empty shop windows in city centers as there are today.

It used to be that competition was local, but now we're competing with basically the entire world. And its a race to the bottom. And the worst thing is, we're all doing it ourselves in one way or another, because we're all feeling the pinch in some way or another.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Marbles
All true. And I totally understand it too.

That's why I think you have to play to your strenghts. Times they are achanging, and that means shops should have changed to. All ethical issues aside: if no one in the process gets shafted (bad work environment, underpaid etc), and you could buy the exact same thing for a lower price, well, why wouldn't people :)

You could want the advice of a shop owner (or google it), Compare items (or google it) but there isn't really any other reason I feel why I wouldn't buy something online if shipping is free, and it's delivered the next day or same evening. I like the romantic idea, but to keep supporting those shops for their sake, well, I'm sorry, but not having a car personally makes my choice simple :) Same thing for buying overseas. I'm not paying more so I can support my government that won't invest that good economy in me.

Shops should offer something I cannot have online, cause pricewise they will always lose.

Mooer and Yoyo, if they do not have underpayed employees in terrible condition, well, why would anyone pay more to have the exact pedal soundwise?

If you can offer a nicer enclosure, better parts and overall a more reliable product than a higher price is justified ofcourse.

If a buyer says: "I can get the same pedal for less" he is right, and he should buy the cheaper one. Ofcourse I come back with: Do you know how much hours it costs ME etc. But why would the customer care? If he's looking for a sound and he could get it for cheap, he should. Why would he care about how many hours that cost? Unless I can offer something better and he has no other option than me that becomes important.

Or ofcourse create a hype that makes guitarist think that my boutique build sounds so much better than the factory one.  
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

rocket88
Administrator
There's truth in what you mention, but the thing is in reality it's not the same when it comes to a product. For instance, I can get a fender or gibson guitar for $800usd or I can get a cheap knockoff. Inevitably there's a significant difference in quality and care in its construction which is the reason for the price difference. The same can be had for different model lines from the same company like fender American, Mexican, Chinese, and squire.

The issue is that everyone is hurting due to the down economy and looking for things cheap. The same can be ahd for anything you buy. I know people that will buy a cheap car like Kia or Hyundai and say look all the stuff I get, it I'll cost me more to get that in say Chevrolet. But then complain that the screens aren't as good or it has to go to the shop 3x in the first 2 months of owning it. The thing is that you get what you pay for.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

Muadzin
rocket88 wrote
There's truth in what you mention, but the thing is in reality it's not the same when it comes to a product. For instance, I can get a fender or gibson guitar for $800usd or I can get a cheap knockoff. Inevitably there's a significant difference in quality and care in its construction which is the reason for the price difference. The same can be had for different model lines from the same company like fender American, Mexican, Chinese, and squire.
Well, are American made Fender or Gibsons actually better qualitatively then their Asian and Mexican counterparts? In the case of Gibson the answer is probably a resounding no, as they seem to be churning out overpriced firewood more then actual good guitars, right now Epiphone builds better guitars then Gibson. As for Fender, best Strat I've owned is a made in Korea Lite Ash. And why should non-American guitars be worse? Both companies invested a lot of money and training to bring their Asian subsidiaries up to speed. While the Asian and Mexican factories have lots of room for easy improvement, the same cannot be said for the American factories. And more and more parts of the production process are mechanized, requiring less and less actual hand work. Robots and CNC machines deliver the same quality, whether they are in China, Mexico or the US. So it boils down to is American hand work really that much better then Asian or Mexican handwork? Or are we just paying more because wages in the US are simply higher?

The issue is that everyone is hurting due to the down economy and looking for things cheap. The same can be ahd for anything you buy. I know people that will buy a cheap car like Kia or Hyundai and say look all the stuff I get, it I'll cost me more to get that in say Chevrolet. But then complain that the screens aren't as good or it has to go to the shop 3x in the first 2 months of owning it. The thing is that you get what you pay for.
Yeah, but higher price because its made in the US,  or EU for that matter, does not automatically translate into higher quality. Like I said, robots and CNC machines deliver the same quality regardless of geography, and a well trained Asian worker delivers the same quality as a well trained Western worker. Free trade means we are now ALL competing globally. And the days we could comfortably lean back and say 'yeah, but we make it better then those Chinese' are over. Western workers are not automatically better and we can debate if they are more motivated as well. And people just do not have the extra spendable cash any more to pay extra to support local businesses. Money is tight, that's why I got into DIY in the first place.
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Re: Horror stories from people for whom you built pedals

rocket88
Administrator
There's always exceptions, case in point beats audio headphones, monster cables, name a product there's always over prices shit. The point I'm making is that you typically get what you pay for. Having something CNC made or build by robots gives consistency, but That does not equal quality or value. Example, high end car companies still have humans check the production done by robots. Handmade does not mean quality either if it's made by someone who didn't know what they're doing. With pedals for example, just cause you use X parts does not mean it will always sound the same. There's always value in skill, and skill always beats cheap production. Why buy a Rolex instead something that says Rolex on the side of the street. That may just by my opinion.

Not saying American made automatically means better. Yes Gibson in particular recently has been putting out a lot of shit from what people have been saying. When it comes to the guitar lines I mentioned, I prefer epiphone to Gibson cause I change out all the electronics anyways. With fender would sooner grab a Mexican to an American cause the American line changes the neck profile constantly, and the Mexican fits my hands better, plus I swap out the electronics normally. The only company I don't change parts on is G&L. Their lower cost line is the same as the American, electronics and all, but assembled in Indonesia, so you have no options other than what's offered, which is the reason it's cheaper.

The idea of joyo or next cheap pedal of the day being as good as something built with care and knowledge I think is rediculous. A knock off will always just that, a knockoff and a waste of money.
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